The New York Islanders have gotten off to a hot start this season, already setting a franchise record for most consecutive games with a point. On Sunday, they opened their practice facility to over 350 youth hockey players who participated in the team’s 13th Islanders Jamboree.
The event took place at the team’s Northwell Practice Facility at Eisenhower Park in Uniondale. Running from noon to 7 p.m., a total of 81 games between 32 mixed-gender teams were played across three practice rinks.
“This event just shows how passionate the Islanders and Long Island communities are about this great sport,” Jocelyne Cummings, director of amateur hockey development, said. “We want all want our sport to grow, but we all want to make sure it’s being taught properly and the kids are having fun.”
6U and 8U teams from Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Westchester and New York City were represented at the facility. Local teams from Great Neck, East Meadow, New Hyde Park and Port Washington highlighted the Nassau teams present.
Hundreds of parents and coaches cycled in and out of the facility throughout the day, grateful for the chance for the opportunity for their children to showcase their talents and make new friends.
“I played hockey on the island for 12 years as a kid, and I wish I had a resource like this,” one Long Island parent said. “My son made two new friends here today and spent a weekend playing a sport we both love. It really doesn’t get much better than that.”
The event hosted a record number of participants, almost doubling the number of teams from last year. According to Cummings, the goal of the event is to instill the best parts of the game, so the youths will stay with the game as they get older.
“It’s supposed to be enjoyable,” Cummings said. “They are just learning, so we want them to love our game as much as we do. And we want them to be able to have some fun while they’re playing.”
As parents and guardians cheered from the bleachers, the players provided them with an afternoon filled with fast break goals, team celebrations and the occasional face plant.
“It’s just one of those events where you have kids running around in every direction. They’re all laughing and high-fiving each other,” Cummings said. “The sportsmanship aspect was really shown today, which is exactly what we want to show and support.”